Album: The Waiting Room
Label: City Slang
Release Date: 01/22/2016
Tindersticks has always been a band connected to film. In addition to its 11 studio albums, the group has worked with French director Claire Denis, producing soundtracks to five of his movies. And now on its latest release, The Waiting Room, Tindersticks again blends the worlds of cinema and music to create something unique. To accompany each track on the new album, Tindersticks collaborated with a different director to craft a short film, which would “attempt not to describe the music but to create a visual counter-point, a space for the music to inhabit.”
For “Were We Once Lovers,” scenes of highway traffic play out over bubbling bass, distorted guitar and rising strings. For “Hey Lucinda,” the voice of the late singer/songwriter Lhasa de Sela duets with bandleader Stuart Staples, while the daily goings-on of a small town unfold in slow-motion.
There are other connections to the world of movies as well. The instrumental number “Follow Me” uses a melody from the soundtrack to the 1962 version of Mutiny on the Bounty as a reflective introduction to the album as a whole. But other tracks hold up ably on their own. “Help Yourself” features intermittent horns swooping in and out of the mix on top of a funk-like rhythm. And “We Are Dreamers” includes guest vocals from singer Jehnny Beth of Savages.
Eventually, it is left to the affectionate “Like Only Lovers Can” to bring the record to its conclusion. The track earns its status as a closer with pattering cymbals providing a soft undercurrent for Staples’ crooning about knowing when not to “stay too long.”
The Waiting Room doesn’t overstay its welcome either. Like a good film, listeners will want to revisit the worlds portrayed throughout the 11 songs again and again.
– Michael Cimaomo